More often than not, movie remakes flop when laid side by side with the original, we only have to take a look at films like the 2012 remake of Total Recall and the 2015 Fantastic Four reboot to demonstrate this. Fortunately, sometimes directors and actors put in the required effort to pull off a truly impressive remake and in this list we are going to take a look at 5 examples of when remakes put up a fight against the original.
The Thing from Another World (1951) vs The Thing (1982):
John Carpenter’s 1982 film The Thing is infamous for being one of the greatest science-fiction horror films of all time, up there with the likes of Alien. However, what many people do not know is that the film is a remake of a 1951 film called The Thing from Another World, a black and white movie directed by Christian Nyby and starring the likes of James Arness, Kenneth Tobey and Margaret Sheridan.
The 1951 original takes place, similarly to the 1982 version, in a research centre in a frozen wasteland. The Thing from Another World is set in the Arctic whilst the 1982 remake takes place in Antarctica, a seemingly better setting with the South Pole notorious for its isolation and lack of human inhabitants. The films follow a similar plot with the shape-shifting ‘thing’ slowly killing off a rag-tag group of characters. Interestingly, The Thing from Another World is based on a 1938 novella titled ‘Who Goes There?’, written by John W. Campbell.
3:10 to Yuma (1957) vs 3:10 to Yuma (2007):
The 2007 film 3:10 to Yuma is a hard-hitting western directed by James Mangold and starring Christian Bale alongside Russell Crowe in the lead roles. It was nominated for two Academy Awards and was well received by critics upon release. However, it was actually a remake of a 1957 film of the same name, directed by Delmer Daves and starring Glenn Ford, Van Heflin and Felicia Farr.
The original was also classified as a critical success and is even responsible for the word ‘yuma’ (referring to American visitors) becoming a part of Cuban slang. The films focus on a rancher living in poverty (played by Bale in the remake), who takes on the challenge of bringing an infamous outlaw (Russell Crowe) to justice. In this case, both films are a brilliant watch and it is hard to differentiate which is better out of the two.
True Grit (1969) vs True Grit (2010):
The 1969 version of True Grit, directed by Henry Hathaway and starring John Wayne, Glen Campbell and Robert Duvall, amongst a host of other stars, is by no means a bad film. John Wayne was nominated for and won an Oscar for Best Actor for his performance as Rooster Cogburn. The 2010 remake was an ambitious project taken hold of by the Coen brothers and with Steven Spielberg onboard as executive producer. The remake starred Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld and was nominated for an impressive ten Academy Awards. However, it won none, despite a lot of popularity amongst critics and fellow actors.
In this case, the performance of John Wayne in the original truly outshone that of any of the actors in the remake but thanks to the help of technological advances and special effects, the remake slightly edges the original in terms of quality. Although it is important to note that the original was in no way a bad movie.
Infernal Affairs (2002) vs The Departed (2006):
The 2006 film The Departed is largely seen as Martin Scorsese’s magnum opus, a project which won him his first and well-deserved Academy Award for Best Director. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson and Mark Wahlberg, amongst a number of other famous actors and actresses. It centers around the identity of two undercover agents, one a mob boss’ mole in the police, the other an undercover state trooped assigned by the police to infiltrate the crew of the same mob boss.
The Departed, was in actual fact, a remake of a 2002 Hong Kong film called Infernal Affairs. The original received a lot of popularity in Asia and was eventually handed two sequels. Although the original was a decent film, it was no match for the superior acting and directing quality which saw The Departed pick up so many Academy Award nominations.
Ocean’s 11 (1960) vs Ocean’s Eleven (2001):
Ocean’s Eleven is a 2001 film starring George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Andy Garcia and Julia Roberts. It was directed by Steven Soderbergh and focuses on a heist led by a team of professional thieves. The film received a lot of popularity and was a success with critics, being the 5th highest-grossing movie to be released in 2001. However, Ocean’s Eleven is based on a 1960 film called Ocean’s 11 which was directed by Lewis Milestone and starred five members of the Rat Pack, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. It follows a very similar story to the remake yet was not as popular with movie-goers and critics as the 2001 film. It goes to show that sometimes pure star-power is not enough to make a brilliant movie and by featuring more competent actors in the remake, the film performed much better.
About the Guest Author
Katie Porter is an aspiring writer, movie lover, and part of the team at Seatup. In her free time, she enjoys exploring her home state Colorado and plays in women’s amateur rugby league.